Thursday, December 31, 2009

You know you're a dog person when....

you get up around 5 a.m. on New Year's Day to go to an Agility Trial. That's where Dax and I will be - along with a few hundred of our nearest and dearest. It's the first day of a three-day trial and one that's relatively close to home.
We're expecting to have a wonderful time - we always do at dog shows of any kind. It would also be very, very nice if Dax and I qualified. We're getting better all the time and it's wonderful to see progress. I'd really also like to see ribbons! (Green ribbons are awarded to all qualifiers at AKC trials.)
So I'll be fast asleep when the new year and decade roll in. My wish for all of us: health, happiness, prosperity and peace. Happy 2010!
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

French Bulldogs can dance!

This is our internet friend Judy and her French Bulldog Jubilee!
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bad timing

I have really bad timing. Or maybe it's just lousy coordination. I swear I really can walk and chew gum at the same time - but you'd never believe it watching me trying to learn a new skill in agility.
Yesterday was Dax's and my first lesson in our new space ( with our instructor Dee - possibly the most patient teacher and best agility coach on the face of the earth. (She also has the #1 and #3 Airedale in the country! ) Our objective is to build a better working relationship between Dax and me - so that Dax knows what's expected of her, how to do it, and to do it at "squirrel-chasing speed."
One of the exercises we worked on was simple. I sit in a chair about 10 feet back from one set of 2x2 weave poles. As Dax goes through them, I click my clicker and toss a treat so the reward (cheese) is in line with where the rest of the weave poles will be when we add them.
Darned if I could click and throw simultaneously. Or throw straight. Or click when Dax was actually moving. Dee very gently pointed out that I was rewarding my dog for stopping instead of moving.
So today - I sat in the chair and practised throwing and clicking. Without Dax. Some days I practise agility with my dog. And some days, without her. Because practise makes perfect. And to mix many metaphors - someday I'm hoping to get to Carnegie Hall.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Support your local animal shelter

Last night a group of volunteers from C.A.R.E. (Community Animal Rescue Effort) and a few dogs from the Evanston Animal Shelter came to train at our Dogs in the Ring. We donate the ring a few hours a month for that training. It's not a big deal - just an hour or two a couple of times a month. But it could make a big difference to those dogs. If a dog behaves well, not jumping at your face, and walks nicely on a leash, it could make that dog more adoptable. It could help that dog get her forever home more quickly. Or if that training gives a shy dog more confidence, maybe he'll stand out and find a great home.

The C.A.R.E. volunteers spend a whole lot more than a few hours a month working for the good of those dogs. I'm sure that's the case at all the animal shelters across the country. Let's support those volunteers, the shelters they work for, and the dogs (and other animals) they work with. Remember your local animal shelter with a year-end donation. (It's tax-deductible, you know!) - Fran
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The end of an era

I woke up crying this morning. Yesterday we said goodbye to our dear friend Betsy's Border Terrier MacDuff. He was a superstar, Golly's best dog friend, a wonderful companion, an agility champion four times over, sometimes a grump, and we loved him dearly. Life has, once again, changed forever for all of us. Both of these cherished dogs are gone, within two and a half months of each other. They were born the same day and both brought great joy into our lives. We were blessed to have shared our lives with them.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Typical Chicago Weather

The last couple of days have reminded us that winter comes quickly here. Today it's warming up to 20 degrees! Remember, winter is still 10 days away. And Dax hates wearing her coat. As cute as she is in her little parka (Chillybuddy Winter Jacket), and no matter how cold it is, Dax will try everything she can to scrape it off! Silly girl.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hounds for the Holidays

Dax and I are back from our Milwaukee adventure! Our first stay-over agility trial, 4 days of hurry-up-and-wait, barking, snacking, running, shivering, laughing, watching, cheering, general mayhem and fun with a few hundred other people who love dog sports as much as we do.
The best part, for me, was spending time with the people we train with, getting to know them better, building friendships with a foundation of shared joy and frustration. People who know exactly what you're going through and sympathize (and tease).
Dax and I didn't qualify in any of our runs, but there was a lot to like in most of her performances. There were also moments of silliness, embarassment and stress. We had a great time. See Dax here:
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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dax and Hope play Agility!

Hope and Dax are at an Agility Trial in Milwaukee this weekend. Here Dax and Hope are - getting ready for their run. Dax looks ready for the treat, anyway! - Fran

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Roc knows how to shop!

Hope is in Milwaukee for a 4-day Agility Trial this week, so I brought Ceilidh and Roc to the shop with me. Roc has been shopping for toys, and then Ceilidh steals them from him! And all that work just tuckered them out!


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